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  Thor the Conqueror Less Than MarvellousBuy this film here.
Year: 1983
Director: Tonino Ricci
Stars: Bruno Minniti, Maria Romano, Malisa Longo, Luigi Mezzanotte, Raf Baldassarre, Angelo Ragusa, Rosalba Ciofalo, Elena Wiedermann, Artemio Antonini, Giovanni Cianfriglia, Osiride Pevarello, Rinaldo Zamperla
Genre: Action, Trash, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  2 (from 1 vote)
Review: Thor (Bruno Minniti as Conrad Nichols) was always destined for great things as a son of a God, but his beginnings in this world were not a happy event when just after his mother had given birth to him she and his father were attacked by savage warriors precisely at the point the infant was triumphantly held aloft as a tribute at a sacred site. Baby Thor got an arrow in him, but was saved by the intervention of Etna (Luigi Mezzanotte), a wise wizard who could turn into an owl: he spirited him away just as his parents were overwhelmed after taking on the men of Gnut (Raf Baldassarre), the chief rival for the child's destiny as one of the most powerful men in history!

Not that you'd know it from Thor the Conqueror, one of many imitations of Conan the Barbarian that emerged from Italy during the nineteen-eighties, and as an example of the form it was one of the most impoverished to boot. That didn't stop sword and sorcery addicts seeking out every last one of these, but this must have been very far down anyone's wish list as it offered very little in the way of entertainment, not least thanks to a hero who might as well have been a villain judging by some of his behaviour. In these days of Game of Thrones informing the filmed fantasy genre, you might hope for an edge given those circumstances, but the fact remained Thor was a moron through and through.

Indeed, this was demonstrated to be a bonus to his personality and his way with a quest, because what would one of these protagonists be without their quest? In this case, we jump forward from when Thor was a baby with an arrow in him, which would prove to be a very short film if they'd been sensible but not here, to when he's a musclebound man, roaming the countryside with Etna who apparently has never allowed him to see a woman in his life. How he managed this goes unmentioned, but one assumes a lot of misdirection of the pointing and saying "look over there!" variety, but when we catch up with them a lady is now what they stumble upon.

One who is a damsel in distress, so once saved from the barbarians (Thor claiming his first lives in the process) our heroic warrior proceeds to rape her. You read that right, we're meant to be backing a rapist, and she's not the only one he assaults, as the hapless woman dies after being stabbed by a baddie, and he is not able to spread his "seed" as Etna terms it, so has to find someone else. She is the actual female lead, Maria Romano as Ina, a warrior herself who tries to kill Thor but is overpowered after he despatches her allies and ends up... well, the rapes are offscreen thankfully, but in a hard to believe development Ina's attack makes her warm to the hammer-wielding idiot and they become very pally.

There are bits that would make you chuckle if they had been in a less offensive setting, and it does settle down into a more clichéd pattern eventually as Gnut and Thor head towards a showdown for the grand finale, which is like every other fight scene in the movie, an undignified scuffle that does not exhibit much skill. In fact, all the budget seems to have gone either on the costumes or the less than stunning special effects that, for instance, turn Etna into an owl in a puff of smoke for no good reason we can see. This supposed wizard is hardly any help at all, merely an observer all the better to act as narrator which he does in the English language dub at least sounding uncannily like Criswell in Plan 9 from Outer Space. Only not, you know, entertaining in any way. There are a few howlers in the dialogue, such as the bit where Etna conjures up a horse and tells Thor that nobody will know what to call one for centuries, which is helpful how? With barely a set in the whole outdoor located production, you could invent something better with a video camera in the local park. Music by Francesco De Masi.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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